de | en

Reactor Physics 2 and new Concepts in Nuclear Technology

Module PH2051

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2020 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2011

Basic Information

PH2051 is a semester module in English or German language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2051 is Peter Böni.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


  • Diffusion constant and Fick’s law
  • Diffusion equation and boundary conditions
  • Diffusion kernels
  • Albedo and reflector savings
  • Absorbers in neutron fields
  • Multiplying media
  • Eigenvalues and normal modes of a critical reactor
  • Age theory (Fermi), slowing down density,lethargy, bremskernels
  • Reactor poisons and burn up
  • Reactivity feedback and reactivity coefficients
  • Reactor types in Science and Industry

Learning Outcome

After participation in the Module the students are able to:

  • Solve the neutron diffusion equation under different boundary conditions
  • Understand and calculate albedo factors and reactor savings
  • Understand and explain multiplying media
  • Understand and explain eigenvalues and normal modes of a reactor
  • Understand and explain age theory (Fermi)
  • Recall reactor poisons and explain the burn up behaviour of a reactor
  • Understand and explain reactivity feedback and reactivity coefficients
  • Recall and explain different reactor types in Science and Industry


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module consiste of a lecture and an excercise class.

The learning outcomes of the module will be achieved via frontal lecure, written and verbal lecturing and powerpoint presentations. With cross references between different topics the universal concepts in physics are shown. The lecture will be complemented by a weekly exercise class, where students will solve problems in groupwork (~6-8 students) under the supervision of a tutor (PhD / scientific assistant) from the faculty. Records of the lecture as well as of the exercises will be made available to the students on Moodle. In addition, a visit of a commercial nuclear power plant is planned.


Presentation, blackboard. Exercise sheets will be made available one week before each class.


  • D. Emendörfer & K.H.Höcker: Theorie der Kernreaktoren, B.I. Wissenschaftsverlag, (1982)
  • K.H. Beckurts & K.Wirtz: Neutron Physics, Springer, (1964)
  • A. Ziegler: Lehrbuch der Reaktortechnik, Springer, (1964)
  • S.Glasstone & M.C. Edlund: Kernreaktortheorie, Springer, (1961)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions, discussions based on sketches and basic formulas.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Explain the P1-approximation by means of transport theorie.
  • Discuss the distribution of the neutron flux in the vicinity of a plate-shaped fuel element in a moderator.
  • Explain the functionality of a fast reactor.
  • Explain the influence of reactor poison on the operation of a reactor.
  • Discuss the power changes that occur if a reactor is suddenly operated in a supercritical mode.

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester. There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

Top of page